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LED ZEP RULING OVER SPIRIT UPHELD

Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” is not an infringement on Spirit’s “Taurus,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled.

The judges used the 1909 Copyright Act to make its determination in the case, using the one page of music filed for “Taurus” rather than any recordings. The courts also rejected challenges to jury instructions and other evidentiary and trial rulings.

“The district court correctly concluded that under the 1909 Act, which controls the copyright registration in this case, the ‘Taurus’ deposit copy circumscribes the scope of the copyright,” Judge M. Margaret McKeown wrote. “Because the deposit copy defines the four corners of the ‘Taurus’ copyright, it was not error for the district court to decline [Randy Wolfe Estate trustee Michael] Skidmore’s request to play the sound recordings of the ‘Taurus’ performance that contain further embellishments or to admit the recordings on the issue of substantial similarity.”

The impact could be significant in that the court overturned the “inverse ratio rule” that lessened the amount of similarities that needed to be present to establish copyright infringement.

The judges offered no opinion as to what “a bustle in your hedgerow” means.

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